Ye simple souls that stray
Far from the path of peace,
That lonely, unfrequented way
To life and happiness,
Why will ye folly love,
And throng the downward road,
And hate the wisdom from above,
And mock the sons of God?
So wretched and obscure,
The men whom ye despise,
So foolish, impotent, and poor,-
Above your scorn we rise:
We through the Holy Ghost,
Can witness better things;
For he whose blood is all our boast,
Hath made us priests and kings.
In Jesus’ love we know;
And pleasures springing from the well
Of life, our souls o’erflow:
The Spirit we receive
Of wisdom, grace, and power;
And always sorrowful we live,
Angels our servants are,
And keep in all our ways,
And in their watchful hands they bear
The sacred sons of grace:
Unto that heavenly bliss
They all our steps attend;
And God himself our Father is,
And Jesus is our friend.
Let us turn, for a moment, to the sixty-ninth psalm, which so vividly presents
our blessed and adorable Lord suffering from the hand of man, and appealing
to God for vengeance.....
But let us look at the other side of the picture. Turn to the twenty-second psalm,
which presents the Blessed One suffering under the hand of God. Here the result is
wholly different. Instead of judgment and vengeance, it is universal and everlasting
blessedness and glory.....
These two quotations present, with great distinctness, the two aspects of the death
of Christ. He died, as a martyr, for righteousness, under the hand of man. For this
man will have to account to God. But He died, as a victim, for sin, under the hand
of God. This is the foundation of all blessing to those that believe in His Name. His
martyr sufferings bring down wrath and judgment upon a godless world: His atoning
sufferings open up the everlasting well-springs of life and salvation to the Church, to
Israel, and to the whole creation. The death of Jesus consummates the world's guilt;
but secures the Church's acceptance. The world is stained, and the Church purged,
by the blood of the cross.
Such is the double bearing of the first of our three great New Testament facts.
Jesus has come and gone – come, because God loved the world – gone, because
the world hated God. If God were to ask the question – and He will ask it – "What
have you done with My Son?" What is the answer? "We hated Him, cast Him out,
and crucified Him. We preferred a robber to Him."
But, blessed forever be the God of all grace, the Christian, the true believer,
can look up to heaven and say, "My absent Lord is there, and there for me. He is
gone from this wretched world, and His absence makes the entire scene around me a
moral wilderness – a desolate waste.”
C. H. Mackintosh